A win this week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando, Fla., would allow Tiger Woods to go back to No. 1 for the first...
Woods has chance at No. 1
A win this week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando, Fla., would allow Tiger Woods to go back to No. 1 for the first time since the end of October 2010.
Woods not only is the defending champion, he is a seven-time winner at Bay Hill. Not only does his game look sharp, Woods already has two wins this year, both of them with comfortable margins on the back nine at Torrey Pines and Doral.
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Woods sank to as low as No. 58 in November 2011 before making a return toward the top, getting a power boost last year by winning three times.
Watson gives back a captain’s pick for Ryder Cup
Tom Watson is giving back one of his captain’s picks for the Ryder Cup. In his first big move since he was appointed U.S. captain last year, Watson said he would take the top nine players off the Ryder Cup standings and select three players as captain’s picks. For the last three matches, only eight Americans qualified for the team and the U.S. captain had four picks.
“Giving our players one more opportunity to earn a spot on merit, I believe, is the right thing to do,” Watson said.
Tseng misses tee time
Defending champion and formerly top-ranked Yani Tseng was dropped from the Kia Classic field after missing her 9:10 a.m. pro-am tee time in Carlsbad, Calif.
“I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t feeling well last night and accidentally overslept and missed my tee time for the pro-am this morning,” Tseng said in a statement released by the tour. “I was extremely excited to compete this week to defend my title at the Kia Classic and to try to regain the No. 1 spot. This was an unfortunate mistake, and I want to apologize to Kia, my sponsors and all of the fans.”
On Sunday, Stacy Lewis won the LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix to end Tseng’s 109-week run at No. 1.
Blake, Hewitt advance
James Blake advanced to the second round of the Sony Open in Key Biscayne, Fla., beating fellow American Ryan Harrison 6-2, 6-2.
Two-time Grand Slam winner Lleyton Hewitt of Australia also won his opening match, topping Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-1, 7-6 (7-3). Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2006 champion, beat Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain 6-3, 6-3.
U.S. Open prize money to reach $50 million by 2017
After a year of closed-door meetings with players seeking a greater say in the sport and a larger slice of Grand Slam revenues, the U.S. Open is making big changes.
New York’s Grand Slam tournament will increase its annual prize money to $50 million by 2017 — roughly double what it was last year — and permanently schedule the men’s semifinals on Friday and men’s final on Sunday starting in 2015. The U.S. Open had been the sport’s only Grand Slam tournament with their semifinals and final on consecutive days. The USTA liked its old “Super Saturday” setup — two men’s semifinals and the women’s final all on that day’s schedule at Flushing Meadows, followed by the men’s final Sunday — but tournament director David Brewer acknowledged it was time to scrap it.
Dempsey to be U.S. captain
Clint Dempsey will be the U.S. captain for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann said he chose Dempsey because the striker “has been huge for us in World Cup qualifying so far.” Dempsey leads the Americans with six goals in seven games in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He is second on the all-time U.S. list with 11 in 27 World Cup qualifiers.
Iditarod plans changes
Changes are planned for Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race after the asphyxiation death of a dog that was buried in snow by extreme winds, organizers of the 1,000-mile race said.
The Iditarod Trail Committee said planned changes include construction of dog shelters at two major checkpoints and more frequent checks on the animals.
Alabama AD stepping down
Alabama athletic director Mal Moore, 73, is stepping down because of health problems after a lengthy reign at his alma mater that ended with the Crimson Tide’s football program back on top nationally.
• Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk will miss two to four weeks with a sprained knee ligament.
• Florida Panthers rookie left wing Eric Selleck was suspended for two games for instigating a fight late in his NHL debut against Carolina on Tuesday.
• Buffalo Sabres leading scorer Thomas Vanek missed practice because of a hip injury and it’s uncertain if he will play against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.
• The NCAA’s board of directors will reconsider its plan to deregulate recruiting. The governing body announced that at least 75 schools had signed a petition to suspend new rules approved in January that were intended to eliminate the prohibitions on how coaches could contact recruits and how often they could do so outside the no-contact period.
• The Mountain West and ESPN reached agreement on a seven-year deal that will give the network rights to televise some football and men’s basketball games, plus all of Boise State’s home football games.
Seattle Times news services